Vote buying: Court acquits Saraki’s ex-aide, one other


With Mumini Abdulkareem

The Kwara state High court sitting in Ilorin has dismissed criminal charges involving alleged electoral fraud and conspiracy against an ex-legislative aide to the former Senate President Bukola Saraki, Oye Obalola and one Abdulsalam Abdulkadir.
The court, in a landmark judgement, held that the EFCC has no power to prosecute election offenders most especially case involving vote buying.
Abdulkadir was arrested on the 9th of March 2019 for allegedly collecting money from Obalola, who was prosecuted at large, to share among the voters in order to compromise the outcome of Governorship and State House of Assembly Election in his polling unit
The charges against the duo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) include conspiracy and electoral fraud.
But Justice Sikiru Oyinloye, in a 3 hours ruling on Wednesday discharged and acquitted both Obalowu and Abdulsalam of all the two counts preferred against them by the antigraft body.
The judge upheld the EFCC has no locus to prosecute the offence on electoral malpractices including vote-buying.
Ruling separately on each of the two counts, the judge held, “If we are to check the merit based on the witness, the EFCC has failed to prove the count 1 and 2 respectively, the court hereby discharge and acquit the defendant.”
According to the judge, the vote buying case will be the first of it kind in the country and should be a point of reference.
Reacting to this judgement, the defendant’s counsel, Adeniyi Abdullahi Jimba Esq noted that the judgement is a landmark one and commended the judge for his courage.
Jimba said, “I’m very happy that the innocent suspects have not been punished wrongly. I must commend the workaholic, encyclopedia and courageous judge who put all his assertion in delivering a well researched 3-hour judgement, irrespective of the parties involved.
“This judgement is landmark because this will be the first time the antigraft body will be losing a case either through preliminary or substantive objection in Kwara state.”

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